I did a search on the hard drive for a picture. These images all carried the number “IMG_0771.” The image number(s) recycles. It is the nature of digital cameras. Fish in the Red Sea. Cat in Delaware.
I was surprised by the images that had the same number spanning many years. The image of Jules, around 2007, and Colleen 2014. Jules – Maine or Vermont. Colleen NYC.
I was blown away by the mask and the drawn face. It was a bit of shock. I have no recollection of that joke, date and place, unknown. And then, there’s a cerebellar tumor, Jeddah circa 2013? As I recall we successfully removed that tumor and it’s recurrence. IMG_0771, this image, has been an interesting historical journey touching significant things in my life.
Hunter Mountain. It’s in upstate NY. We skied there the last time I skied with my kids. As in, it was the last time we skied together. Period. It’s a sad happy memory forwarded to my email courtesy of Shutterfly. K27. It’s the name of an infamous trail on the mountain for experts only. Skiing in upstate NY has challenges. It’s eastern skiing, therefore be prepared for ice. The moguls were the size of Volkswagen beetles. I am older and wiser which is to say I wanted to live to ski another run. Eric and Dave went first and fell. Eric exploded. Jules was more cautious and picked her way around the moguls to ski out the bottom. Good for her! As I say this memory was bittersweet. Who knew what the future would bring and how our lives all changed so.
(Shhhhh….don’t tell mom) I let Lisa do most of the child raising. Mostly because she was way more OCD about it. And partly because I was not home as much as I’d like to have thought. One thing I did do with the kids was ski. Lisa was afraid to fall so she never got good. I learned just a little bit ahead of my kids. I got good fast. They got good and never knew it. They skied black diamond trails before they could read. You know you’re nuts when other people would take pictures of your kids on the slopes because they were so little and skiing on steep blue trails out west. When Julia could finally read she queried me, “But Dad, that’s a black diamond trail.” as we skied past the sign. I told her, “Shut up. Just ski.” And they did. This would be a happy ending. Then, one day they got better than me. I suppose it’s the goal of every parent to see their kids better than them. I’m proud. Mom can’t ski (well), so what happens on the trail, stays on the ski trail.
Some days, not many, are a complete “no go.” It’s not often it snows in New York City enough to stop traffic and business. It’s fascinating to watch the usual routine grind to a halt. For a few days things are way different. Then the snow melts and it’s messy dirty. Oh well, there are a lot of people who trudge through the snow. I’ve never not been able to go. I even did a major brain aneurysm operation in the aftermath of a major snowstorm. Ok, I’m not bragging. It’s just that there was never “no go” for me. This past winter changed that. It’s not that I got old and became a wimp. I just couldn’t go. The snow was literally too much for us to drive. We walked. We did not go far. I was lucky. “Retired” means there is no where you actually have to go. Still, it was a strange feeling to be limited. It’ll snow again in NYC. I won’t be there. I won’t go.
Yes. Every big storm brings out someone who thinks it’s cool to cross country ski down the street or in Central Park. It’s a common spectacle now. I actually considered snow shoes or cross country skis after the last winter storm. The bang for your buck is too small.
It must have been a warm day. I have no hat. We’d ski and try to do some death defying jumps. Actually, they were just bumps. That would be me. Don’t laugh. The last time I remember skiing was with Julia in Sunday River. Or, maybe it was Hunter with the kids and uncle Eric. Either way, it’s been a few years. I guess, like tennis, and golf, my best days are behind me. I can still do it. There’s not too much incentive. And, it’s flat!!…here in Delaware.
I once belonged to Kodak’s photo site where I could store and share pictures. Remember the big yellow box? They were film. Film! They (pictures) were bought up by Shutterfly. And Shutterfly knows where I live (at least my email address). They (Shutterfly) sent me an email with these photos that I had uploaded six years ago. Nice try. Nice ploy. I don’t upload anything unless I already have a backup. Right. But it was an interesting email. Wow. I applied for car insurance and they knew all my violations going back to 1999. Well, they listed a ticket as 9999 but I get it. In some way, you get the idea that you will be online somewhere on the internet forever. No one really cares. They care. Can you believe what someone has on a server somewhere out there?
The last time I saw snow was….mmmm… 2012. Anyway, it was a while ago. Skiing was one of my first passions as a full grown adult. I took the kids. David was so small on the mountain, people turned to photograph him on the steep blue/black trails in Utah. I’m not proud. I was an idiot for getting a kid who could barely walk straight up on a pair of skis. Laid back! David was so laid back he fell asleep on the chair lift. Nap time was nap time. He would just pass out. Oh! I started first by skiing with them between my legs. Jules and then Dave would be in front – I would ski slowly while holding them back with my ski pole. Yes, nuts too. Dave would lean over the pole like a cat arms just resting there. He snores! In the quiet shushing over the snow Jules and I heard him snoring away. Yes, nap time!
On this occasion Jules finally got her wish to try a “board.” Her cousins and brother had tried. She’s the only girl on my side of the next generation. The cousins are not too skilled. Dave can handle himself. And Jules spent an hour tumbling and falling. She sprained her wrist, gave in, and went back to a sensible pair of skis. Smart!
You don’t get to many selfies with your kids. But I guess it happens more than before. Low light, bad focus, poor composition, wide angle distortion matters not. Hey! It better than nothing. As I paused in editing I realize that these imperfect pictures mean the most.
While it’s still winter where I came from, I’d like to post some ski pictures. Old ones… The kids liked it. At least they went along without any grumbling. After a while Lisa kind of dropped out. She was too timid to really enjoy the hair-raising wind in your face skiing that the kids and I did. Ok, she was a lot happier and it was a break for her if we went off for a while.
Jumping is something that is a challenge. You catch air and it’s a different skill. Just don’t panic and it’s easy. I realize this isn’t much of a jump and not much air. The kids didn’t know it and they didn’t care. Fun is fun.
I came to the sport late in life. I had skied once in college. I nearly froze some precious anatomy that day. I tried again when I was a grown-up and about froze that same anatomy. But this time it stuck. It then became my mission to teach the family. There was the time Lisa threw her skis in my direction. She swore I was trying to kill her as she stalked across the mountain to safety. Nothing is more frustrating than to carry your gear and struggle with your kids’ gear. It doesn’t matter that kids gear is small. It’s still awkward and cumbersome. You always think you need a couple more arms. And just when you get to where you’re about to put their skis on, someone says, “Dad. I gotta go.”
This brings me to another point. If you teach you kids when they’re young, they know no fear. They are too low to the ground to really get hurt if they fall. The next thing was to ski out west. So we soon were in Deer Valley, Utah. After a week of doing A’s on the baby hill, the kids objected to more lessons. I readily agreed but told them they would have to ski with me. I wasn’t great but I was on the blue trails. Out west the blues are equal to eastern blacks. They are equally steep just wider out west. I know I was nuts because people kept taking pictures of the kids, especially David, because they were so small. Really, when I think of it David was just barely walking.
One last anecdote – Lisa decided on one President’s day that we should go skiing. We went to Shawnee a small hill in Pennsylvania. How small? …Small enough that the parking lot was at the top of the hill. We got the last pairs of kids rentals. They were so beat up the plastic was all peeling. And on the mountain other kids were whizzing out of control and grabbing the nearest adult in order to stop. It was chaos. The finale was that David took a tumble down the metal staircase of the lodge. It was about 8 steps and a fair sized fall. I watched him tumble head over heel. He landed at the bottom and didn’t move. No harm, he had been dressed in so many layers the padding had completely protected him. I was horrified. We’ve never talked about it. I just picked him up relieved that he was not damaged and not even crying.
I skied with the kids a year ago. They are both better than me now. It does make me proud. I had better sense than to challenge K27 at Hunter when it was just a series of icy moguls. They both (survived) did it. No one told mom.
I’ve posted this picture in this blog somewhere else. But I was in this folder and consider the image and its memory iconic to me. We were on one of the ski trips that we took with our friends affectionately known as the ‘Tyler Place group.’ We all met while we had vacationed with our families at, you guessed it, the Tyler Place in Vermont. So about once each winter we skied together. My recollection is that this was a rental house near Okemo. Just as we were packing to leave on Sunday, I got this image of Julia at the window. She was dressed in black so it was a perfect image to isolate her face and hands. Yeah, you get lucky like that sometimes. I’m just glad that I walk around looking for opportunities and that I’m lucky enough to have a camera handy when the shot presents itself. As with most of my images this was not posed but it was taking advantage the moment.
You may let your imagination run wild. This slide would never pass a quality image test. On a ski weekend with our buddies, we frequently rented a place – four couples and our two kids would stay together. This particular house had a hot tub. After a long day on the ski slopes (about a couple hours for the ladies) that hot tub beckoned. Actually, I missed the embarrassing moment. Apparently Kevin knocked and my wife Lisa answered, “Come in.” thinking that it was her husband, (me). Well needless to say there was a bit of shocking surprise/confusion. This image was snapped a bit later. It’s Kevin and Bob. And that’s Susan, she’s with ‘stupid.’ But hey! Everyone’s got a bathing suit.
I learned to ski as an adult. My kids learned to ski when they could barely walk. Last winter we skied together for the first time in about ten years. They are better than me. At least I wasn’t about to go down K27 at Hunter and they did. It was icy and had hard moguls the size of ‘Volkswagens.’ Get it? We never really did have much chance to ski in powder. Occasionally out ‘West’ you would find some powder. The problem was that we were so used to ice, that it was really hard to figure out what to do with soft snow. But we never hesitated to go off trail. Dumb but fun, the kids spent so much time rolling in the snow, that when we skied together recently they mentioned that they felt so much warmer. I reminded them that they were still dry for a change. And me, I still ski with a camera. At least there is video in the camera so I don’t have to carry two devices. David shot with his iPhone and uploaded to the ‘cloud’ on the mountain, so his shots were open on his laptop by the time he got home. That’s too cool.
Yes, we were pretty nuts. Ok, I was nuts. I let the kids do it. I let them because they asked. Yes, nuts. We all had a good time. They were fearless but careful enough not to ski recklessly. It’s a boost to accomplish this feat. Since we have been on challenging trails before, I cannot recall that this was more difficult than any other time. It just made us pause before proceeding. We’ve been on plenty of trails made difficult by the weather and conditions. It’s not the sign that matters as much as common sense. Huh?